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RESEARCH METHODS AND
THEIR APPLICATION TO
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MARKETING
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Case study of Sainsbury's Supermarket Plc

RESEARCH METHODS AND THEIR


APPLICATION TO MARKETING

Contents
Introduction..............................................................................................................................................................4
Background Of The Study........................................................................................................................................5
About Sainsbury's Supermarket...........................................................................................................................5
Statement Of The Problem...................................................................................................................................6
Literature Review.....................................................................................................................................................7
Customer Service.................................................................................................................................................7
Competitive Advantage........................................................................................................................................8
Competitive Advantage And Customer Service..................................................................................................8
Research Objectives.................................................................................................................................................9
Research Questions................................................................................................................................................10
The Research Methodology...................................................................................................................................10
Sources Of Data.................................................................................................................................................10
Methodology......................................................................................................................................................11
Analysis And Findings...........................................................................................................................................12
Level Of Customer Satisfaction.........................................................................................................................12
Facts Drawn Up From Interview.......................................................................................................................15
Conclusion And Recommendation:........................................................................................................................16
Reference................................................................................................................................................................17

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INTRODUCTION
Before we start with the research, it becomes very essential to understand the underlining
meaning and the significance of the term "research".
Over time various scholars have presented their opinion on the definition of the term
"research". Some of the notable one are:"In the broadest sense of the word, the definition of research includes any gathering
of data, information and facts for the advancement of knowledge." -( Shuttleworth, M.
2008).
Systematic, controlled, empirical and critical investigation of hypothetical
propositions about the presumed relations among natural phenomenon - (Kerlinger,
F. 1973)
Hence we can conclude, research is a set of actions aimed at discovery of new knowledge in a
particular area.
In academic literature, the research is a cornerstone of university activity, in which researchers
aim to produce knowledge to an academic discipline, contributing to the advancement of
science and for social development.
An important part of any research is the gathering of data, so a researcher must search
diligently for information.

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BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The major aim of this research study is to find out customer service implemented by UK
based supermarket giant Sainsburys and its impact in the business. This research has been
conducted with the motive of finding out whether "Sainsbury's supermarket PLC", a leading
name in retail industry, has managed to gain competitive advantage in customer service over
its competitors. This becomes very significance esp. in the context where Sainsbury's has
brought itself into the second position, as a market leader after Tesco, after beating ASDA, the
third largest UK supermarket (Withnall, 2013).
This research also aims to find out the role of customer service and the competitive advantage
which is the major strategic operation for the success of the company. The research focuses
on customer service in relation to Sainsburys. The research objectives focus to analyze
whether customer service is helpful or not in the overall development of the company
generating competitive advantage by increasing strength in the growth of the company
business.
Exploring the answer to the research objective and question will enable Sainsbury's to move
further and achieve back again the market leadership position which it lost to Tesco back in
1995 (BBC News, 1995). The primary notion of this particular study is to acquire knowledge
of the requirement of strategies to enrich client satisfaction via numerous research projects
performed by distinct research workers about Sainsbury's marketing and advertising methods.

ABOUT SAINSBURY'S SUPERMARKET


Founded in 1869, J Sainsbury PLC the second largest supermarket chains in UK (Funding
Universe, 2013). The company now has 523 convenience stores and 583 supermarkets (J
Sainsbury PLC / Store portfolio, 2013). The company constitutes to 16.8% share of the UK
retail industry (Kantar Worldpanel, 2013). The main rivals of the company include Tesco
PLC, Asda supermarkets, Morrison and Marks and Spencer. The company uses its Nectar
card scheme for the marketing purpose to understand the behavior of its customers buying
cycle as well as for developing promotions (Deighton, 2004, p. 9). The company in the
present competitive business scenario focuses on the customer service as it is one of the most
important factors for the success of the company. . The company is also famous for selling
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good quality foods in the cheap prices. Due to high competition in the retail business
industry, the company has changed its business strategies focusing on its customer service.

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM


In spite of the improvement in its market positioning, Sainsbury's supermarket place is still a
long way to its target to achieve the market leadership. The market share of its rival, Tesco
PLC, who is currently the market leader is also twice the size of the Sainsbury's PLC (BBC
News, 2013). On top of that the company faces pressure from its external environmental
forces. The industry environment has regularly been challenged by the economic downturn,
changes in government legislations, loss of consumer confidence etc. Thus the retail market
saw very small growth 0.3%, which is very less than expected (Centre for Retail Research,
2013). In such competitive atmosphere it becomes very essential that the company develop its
competitive advantages which will safeguard its competitive position and to stay ahead in the
market.
Thus this research has identified that, in order to become the market leader, Saisbury's need to
recognize its core competencies in its customer services over its rivals. Thus in this research,
researcher endeavors in finding the market positioning of Sainsbury's, study its strength and
weaknesses and find how customers value it.
The significance of this study is to find out customer service whether it is effective or not to
create customer satisfaction because customer satisfaction can multiply the company business.
This research study is being conducted from the customer service point of view. It can be
important for the company and the future researchers who will be interested in the customer
service.

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LITERATURE REVIEW
This part of the study contains a review of the literature that is of the customer service of
Sainsburys. This section presents different views of writers and critics in relation to
Sainsburys and its customer service.

CUSTOMER SERVICE
A service process begins with identifying the needs and wants of customers and passes
through important issues such as corporate communication, the definition of the products
offered, the structure of the store, the payment methods and the training of the sales team.
The CRM is not tied to a specific program and is more comprehensive than the use of a tool
or forming a database on the client.
CRM is a business strategy focused on understanding and anticipating the needs of existing
and potential customers and your company. Point Technologically, CRM involves capturing
customer data along across the enterprise, consolidate all internal and external data captured
in a central database, analyze the consolidated data, distribute the results of this analysis to
various points of customer contact and use this information to interact with the customer
through any point of contact with the company. (Peppers & Rogers Group, 2004, p. 59)
The analysis of these and other interpretations of CRM makes it clear that this is a
comprehensive concept, which goes beyond the boundaries of departments and / or processes,
levels hierarchical and inter-organizational boundaries, and brings with it the requirement to
raise customer issues at the strategic level of the organization. The concept of CRM involves
people, technology, process review, and information aligned with a strategy focused on the
Galbreth and Rogers (1999, p. 162), emphasize the strategic importance of managing
customer relationship. For the authors, CRM is a strategy for competitive advantage is a
transformation of philosophy and an ideal of how businesses should compete in the
21st century.
Meeting the needs of customers includes understanding the needs that are implicit and are not
reported. Carvalho (1997), explains that there are cases where the consumer "forgets" some
basic requirements (e.g. tickets - forgets to ask a plane insurance, which does not fall, but
remember to ask for better service and punctuality, or else not acts according to what it says states prefer food without sugar but consumes sugar). All this going extra miles will come
into the scope of customer service.

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COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
The concept of competitive advantage arose in opposition to the concept of comparative
advantage, coined by David Ricardo (Ricardo and Porta et al., 1992). And the other great
thinkers of this important topic was Michael Porter.
The quest for Competitive Advantage for Porter, in this essence of strategy formulation is
about coping with the competition. In the fight for market share, competition occurs not only
in relation to competitors, but in the entire chain of relations company. This understanding
comes the concept of the Five Forces that govern competition in a sector. The collective
effect of these forces (power of supplier, power of customer, threat from substitutes and the
threat of new and existing rivals) determines the ultimate profit potential of an industry
(Porter, 1985).
According to Porter (1985) Competitive advantage comes from the value that the company
creates for its customers as opposed to the cost that has to create it.
Since every company performs a set of activities like design, produce, market, deliver and
support its product, obtaining a holistic view of the organization's activities will bring the
understanding of what these activities are essential to the business and what activities are
supported. From this review, Porter suggests the identification of activities that will help the
company identify best practices.

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE AND CUSTOMER SERVICE


However, it is observed that from the beginning of the 80s, organizations have come to represent an
increasingly larger and more important part of the economic scenario world (Freitas, 2001 p.
10). Against this background, these organizations continually seek to achieve Service
Excellence, considering customers as a key to achievement and maintenance of markets.
In general, administrators, managers and researchers seek to identify, among other aspects: the criteria
that best define the quality of a particular service, the criteria that are more important and that they
generate more satisfaction (dissatisfaction) client, the relationship between service quality and
customer satisfaction, the impact of service quality and customer satisfaction in the service consumer
intentions (Cronin & TAYLOR, 1992, p. 55)
On flexibility, the services offered must be adaptable to customer needs. Addressing the availability,
the company should have a proper planning to serve its customers. Must be aware of the demand for
their services and then serve customers with availability of physical, material and human resources.
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The communication must be clear and leave no doubt to customers. Should always be considered in
order to facilitate understanding by themselves. In this sense, advertisements, advertising,
communication cards, documents (Records requisitions and the like), and all communication to the
client must appreciate for your easy understanding and leaving no doubt.
On competence, customers should note that professionals now know have the confidence and certainty
they are doing. If they perceive the otherwise, they may even be afraid or fear of being met. At this
point, emphasize the need to work with qualified professionals.

Organization by offering customer service along with the product add value to the goods. Grating with
the aesthetic dimension, it is said that the environments of the company should be enjoyable and
appropriate to the target audience of the same appearance. The Employees must present themselves
appropriately to the audience and the context, all that the customer notice (in terms of environment)
must satisfy their expectations.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
The primary objective of this research is to establish whether Sainsburys has managed to
gain competitive advantage in customer service over its competitors.
To meet the above objective of this research, following secondary objectives has been
established:

Review current literature on customer service and competitive advantage

Identify the relationship between organizational success and customer service

Recommend the company with areas of improvement.

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RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The objective of the research will be met by obtaining answers to the research question. For
this purpose this research study will focus on answering following research questions:

Is Sainsburys customer service effective in building customer satisfaction?

Is Sainsburys nectar card scheme helpful in maintaining and creating long


lasting relationship with the customers?

Are customers satisfied with the Sainsburys customer service policy?

THE RESEARCH METHODOLOGY


The term "Methodology" is derived from the Latin word "methods" which means "the path to
achieve something". Method is the process to achieve a particular purpose or to get to
understand the subject.
Thus research methodology stands for the approach the research has taken for acquiring the
understanding in a particular area and for the production of knowledge.

SOURCES OF DATA
During the research conduction period, the researcher uses different kind of data
collection methods which makes the research more reliable and accurate. The most
common data collection methods are primary and the secondary data collection
methods. On the basis of the source of the data, research can be categorized into
primary data and secondary data collection method.
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Primary data: The primary datas are collected directly by the researcher. These
datas are also called first hand datas as they are collected directly by the researchers
observation and experience. The various example of primary data involves data
collected through survey, questionnaire, face to face interviews, companies' internal
data etc.

Secondary Data: Secondary data are those which have already been collected,
tabulated, sorted, and sometimes even analyzed for other purposes to meet the needs
of ongoing research. Since these types of data are readily available to be used by the
researcher, they are sometimes called as second hand data. The sources of secondary
data involve journals, books, websites, the company annual reports etc.
In this research study, the researcher will use both the primary and the secondary data
collection methods for the Sainsburys customers in order to measure the customer
satisfaction as they are getting good customer service or not? The datas will be
distributed and collected in order to identify the customer satisfaction.
For this purpose, researcher has developed a questionnaire to be distributed to the
customers so that how they feel about Sainsbury's and their level of customer
satisfaction can be explored.
Also the researcher will hold a face to face interview with the store managers at three
Sainsbury's stores in Greenwich, Lewisham and Crayford.

METHODOLOGY
Research Methodology can broadly be categorized into two categories:Qualitative Research Methodology: Qualitative research is descriptive in nature as it
doesn't not involve with numbers. Researchers who use this method try to explore and
explain why things needs to be done without identifying the values that suppress the
evidence data, because the data analyzed by this method are not based on numbers.
Quantitative Research Methodology: Unlike qualitative research, this method
search results that can be quantified by means of collecting data without formal and
structured in a more organized and intuitive tools.
This research will me a mix of both qualitative and quantitative approaches for decision
making. The level of customer satisfaction has been quantified in the scale of 0 to 5 where 0
stands for very dissatisfied while 5 stands for the highest degree of satisfaction.
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As a qualitative approach the qualitative analysis of the response received from the
interviews with the managers at the chosen store has been analyzed.

ANALYSIS AND FINDINGS


Under this section the data and information received from the collection of the data will be
analyzed for discovering the understanding of the research question. The data received from
the survey will be tabulated and the response received to the interview will be interpreted.
The information received under this section will play a key role in drawing up the conclusion
at the end of the research.

LEVEL OF CUSTOMER SATISFACTION


As a method of data collection on the level of customer satisfaction at Sainsbury's, the
researcher distributed feedback questionnaire to be filled by the customers shopping at
Sainsbury's at various locations. Some of the customers preferred to fill it up by themselves
while many were filled by researcher together with the customer by asking them the question.
All in together 80 questionnaire was distributed out of which 65 were responded back.

In the questionnaire, customer was asked how satisfied they were with the shopping

experience at Sainsbury's.
The second question was asked about whether they would visit Sainsbury's again for

their next shopping.


And the third question asked did they find staffs helpful.

The response to these questions has been quantified and presented in the tabulated form
below:

LEVEL OF SATISFACTION

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Very
Satisfied
Level
of
Satisfaction

Customer 10

Percentage

15%

Satisfied

Neutral

Unsatisfied

Highly
Dissatisfied

25

15

10

39%

23%

15%

8%

Level of Customer Satisfaction


Very Dissatisfied; 8%
Very Satisfied; 15%
Unsatisfied; 15%

Neutral; 23%

Satisfied; 39%

Finding:
It was found that in the overall majority of customers were satisfied from their shopping
experience at Sainsbury's however around 23% which is 15 out of 65 were dissatisfied with
their shopping experience.

WOULD YOU VISIT SAINSBURY'S AGAIN?

Yes

No

Would you visit again

45

20

Percentage

69%

31%

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Would you visit again
NO; 31%

YES; 69%

Finding
When asked with if they would shop again at Sainsbury's store, majority customer replied 'yes'
which was almost 70%.

DID YOU FIND STAFFS HELPFUL?

Yes

No

Staff's Helpful?

35

30

Percentage

53%

47%

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Staff's Helpfulness

NO; 47%

YES; 53%

Finding
Most of the customers, 35 out of 65 customers were happy with the way they were treated by
the staffs at the store, while a significant number of customers, in the same time, were
unhappy with the employee's response.

FACTS DRAWN UP FROM INTERVIEW


As a part of collecting the information required for the research, face to face interview was
held with the managers at the Sainsbury's store at Crayford, Greenwich and Lewisham.
Following is the response to the questions that were asked.
QN 1) Is Sainsburys nectar card scheme helpful in maintaining and creating long
lasting relationship with the customers?
The manager at Crayford replied, Nectar card has been the backbone for the marketing
purpose at the Sainsbury's. He replied, "Sainsbury's studies customer's buying habit and their
behavior through Nectar card. All the vouchers that are sent to the customers by post actually
are created by analyzing the buying habits of the customer"
The manager at Greenwich store said the reason why Sainsbury's was doing so well against
the results achieved by ASDA is that Sainsbury's has a nectar card while ASDA do not have
any bonus scheme.
QN 2 Are customers satisfied with the Sainsburys customer service policy?

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All the managers seemed to agree that they were meeting the customers expectation. Manager
at Lewisham insisted, "Sainsbury's goes even an extra mile when it comes to customer
satisfaction"

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CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION:
In order for Sainsbury's to develop more of its competitiveness following are some
recommendations that can be suggested after conducting this research investigation:

Sainsbury's need to train each and every staffs on serving the customers. While what
makes a customer happy is different in every scenario, there must be uniformity on the
minimum standard of customer service that is to be delivered to every customer.

Those staffs who go extra miles when serving customers must be rewarded for their
job. This will keep motivated them to keep customers satisfied.

The company needs to invest more and more on customer management technology,
staff trainings etc.

After the analysis of direct response from over 65 customers, it can be concluded that in the
overall majority of customers are happy about the shopping experience at Sainsbury's
supermarket. However, whether if this is sufficient to become of a market leader is subject to
benchmarking the performance of the rival store. It can be vividly visible that much need to be
done esp. in the area of staff's helpfulness and serving customer's. This gives importance to the
regular staff training and motivating them to go extra miles serving customers.
Study of the role played by the nectar card in contributing to the organizational success is a
remarkable one. Without nectar it would have never been possible to pinpoint what customer's
in different market segments would actually want.

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